The mission of Common Sense is to be the most accurate, most thorough and most interesting source of news, sports and entertainment for the Thomas S. Wootton High School community. The principles that staff members of Common Sense should operate on are:
- To assertively seek content that has high interest, impacts the reader, provokes discussion and advances the reader’s knowledge
- To react quickly to any newsworthy events, whether on campus, around Montgomery County or in another part of the world (if it impacts our readers).
- To make the newspaper as relevant to readers as possible by knowing what has happened, what is happening and what will happen in the news
- To create a newspaper that is a reflection of the diversity of the backgrounds, goals and interests of the readers.
- To consistently adhere to the ethical guidelines of Common Sense and foster the most professional environment possible at all levels.
- To develop and become technically, ethically and successful student journalists.
Common Sense recognizes that a commitment to diversity is crucial to fulfilling its mission to be the primary source of information for, by and about the Wootton High School community. Embracing the cultural traditions, beliefs and views of our subjects and audience strengthens this mission. In upholding our mission to provide full, fair news coverage, Common Sense will:
- recognize that majority groups usually have little trouble sharing its views, but that underrepresented groups do not often share that position. Therefore, Common Sense must be committed to aggressively covering underrepresented groups to the best of its abilities. — This does not necessarily mean running more stories about “minority” issues and people. These stories are important, but underrepresented groups have a stake in “mainstream” stories too. Reporters should be conscious of sourcing: Avoid making someone the single spokesperson for an entire group or community. This usually originates from needing an authoritative source, like a club leader, to talk about an event. That person becomes the go-to source for stories about issues faced by a particular group, but reporters should be aggressive about collecting sources from a wide variety of people in the community.
- avoid stereotyping and typecasting. Racism, sexism and any other reporting that demeans others will not be tolerated. Furthermore, no mention should be made of a person’s race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, age or other identities unless it is pertinent to a story.
- create an open atmosphere within our own newsroom that welcomes a variety of views and encourages discussion.
Distribution Process: Passed out in classes during school day; mailed to subscribers and patrons; sent to every high school in MCPS as well as all Wootton HS feeder schools
Number of Copies Printed: 1700
Scholastic Press Affiliations: Columbia Scholastic Press Association, Maryland/DC Scholastic Press Association